Leitmotif of the Grafton Township Kangaroo Court – Part 1

Moore arms crossed looking at TrusteesThere was a leitmotif during the almost five-hour meeting of the Grafton Township Board on Thursday night.

Not too light, though.

More like an elephant plunging through the local Republican Party, setting up all Grafton Township incumbents for defeat at the hands of the Democratic Party in 2013.

Although the subject was only listed on the agenda once, a recurring undercurrent about the stunning court-mandated reversal of the trustees’ majority’s votes to sell the current township hall to its own Road District—complete with non-refundable $66,000 commission to real estate agent and Republican County Board member Marc Munaretto—to finance the building of a new township hall that would have cost the taxpayers over $5 million (with interest) was just under the surface.

But, it kept popping up during the meeting, especially during the debate over the resolution to censure Township Supervisor Linda Moore.

Grafton Township Hall WatercolorSurely, the

  • loss of the prestige of having a new township hall, plus
  • loss of the bronze plaque which would contain the trustees’ names, plus
  • loss of face, plus
  • the election loss of Supervisor John Rossi, the man who convinced them to do the deal, and
  • the threat of having to pay their own legal fees

were among the inspirations for the multi-page censure resolution, which was not provided to Moore before the meeting, indeed not until after the kangaroo court passed its judgment.

Grafton Censure Pamphlet Cover(After the meeting I asked Rob LaPorta for a copy. He told me that his copy had notes on it, but said he would ask the lawyer to email it to me. While I was writing this article Saturday morning, I got a copy from LaPorta that indicates it will be published in pamphlet form “by authority of the township board” during December.  Click to enlarge.)

The trustees can’t reverse Judge Michael Caldwell’s court decision and confirmation of that decision at a rehearing now that it has been upheld by the 2nd Appellate Court, but they can censure one of its original plaintiffs, which, incidentally, was mentioned in the meeting and they can attack the most public messenger to divert public attention from their own court-determined illegal board majority actions.

Here’s the court suit reference from Gerry McMahon, who was elected because Moore put his literature in with her own during the Republican primary election campaign. (I know that because I helped distribute it one cold winter Saturday.)

The board was discussing a motion to move the censure resolution from almost the end of the agenda to the top.

(The trustees clearly did not want the Northwest Herald reporter to miss that part of the meeting since Herald reporters often do not stay until the end of late meetings, as was the case Thursday night when the adjournment was about 12:15 AM.  Better a story on censure than on the incredibly bad audit of ally John Rossi’s last year in office.  The strategy worked.  Not a word was printed in the NW Herald about the audit.)

Moore had told the board that she had conferred with an attorney about the censure resolution, which, incidentally, she did see before passage.

“Our legal bills (since she took office in April) are at $69,000,”

Moore said.

Grafton McMahon Facing Right Left Hand UpAmong the other things McMahon, censured himself last month, said was,

“I heard your remarks about the courts.

“You started this all. That has cost immense legal bills. That was personal and vindictive…You have cost $600,000. When you don’t get your dictatorial way, you go around (the board, to court, for instance—McMahon was talking so fast my note taking couldn’t keep up.)

“When you are in the minority you should reg(?) and live with this. This is simple. If you would do the thing the majority wants everything would be (alright).”

Moore, Linda looking left profileMoore replied,

“Judges don’t award rulings because somebody (has something personal and vindictive). Governments can do anything they want until somebody says they are wrong.”

Moore then pointed out,

“Legal fees were $40,000. The trustees hired that attorney…We’ve got to stop wasting taxpayer dollars.”

Grafton. Barbara Moore Holding Right Hand Out Facing Right“Where do we start?” Trustee Barbara Murphy (one who voted for the new township hall, but was the first incumbent to figure out that something illegal had been done and say the resulting loan had to be repaid) expressed her frustration. The frustration started out with the trustees being disturbed that Moore would not put items they wanted to discuss on the agenda, which led to the township’s attorney being instructed to prepare it. The attorney is paid $200 an hour.

Then, Murphy referred to the township hall dispute

“We were green when we took the last four years.

“I thought we (were following good advice).

“It’s done. They won it. It’s over. When you fired (Jim) Kelly (as township attorney), you expected us not to have a lawyer?

“I feel like there’s no working with you.”

More tomorrow.

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